Monthly Archives: December 2007

Gizzard Soup

Now the radio is singing: Got my pistols loaded up and I’m Alabama bound. I have heard this song as got my ticket in my hand, going down to New Orleans, but no, it is got my pistols loaded up and I’m Alabama bound. I am back home in the sweet sunny South, making gizzard soup.

Strange though it may sound, gizzard soup is a Scandinavian delicacy I strongly recommend. It is made with the leftovers of a goose or duck which you have stuffed with apples and prunes, roasted, and served with red cabbage.

Gizzard Soup

Take a goose or duck carcass, not picked clean. Remnants of the apple and prune stuffing should still be sticking to the bones. Put the carcass in a pot, and add any leftover giblets and gravy you may have. Cover with water and add at least two large spoonfuls of vinegar, or more to taste. It is very important to have at least some vinegar since this will release the flavor from the bones.

Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer slowly until you have a rich broth. Remove clean bones, and add: chopped green apples, prunes, sliced leeks, shallots, and carrots. Simmer until vegetables are done. If you have leftover potatoes or rice dressing and want to make a heartier soup, you can include them. I prefer to sneak in extra goose or duck meat.



Filed under Arts, News, Resources, Songs

N. Machiavelli

Machiavelli, via Porch Dog:

When evening arrives, I return home, and enter my study, and at the door I take off my daytime clothes, full of mud and filth, and I put on royal and curial robes. Having gotten dressed again appropriately, I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where received lovingly by them, I feed on that food which alone is mine, and I was born for it; where I am not ashamed to speak with them, and ask them the reasons for their actions, and they, humanely, answer me.

That was also the original motivation for starting this blog. It amazes me how many writers have said similar things, and I am sure not all those who have said it, read it first in Machiavelli. I think it is what readers and writers do.



Filed under Poetry, Resources


1. As we know, in Reeducation I was considered unfeeling. To prove I was not, I was directed to renounce the intellectual life.

2. I have already realized before that “unfeeling” only meant “not histrionic” and “frighteningly bright to a man like me.” Now I realize that what it meant more fundamentally was that I was not engaging enough with random silliness. “Let negativity get to you more,” said Reeducation. “That way, you will prove that you are a moral person.”

This was one of its most important weapons.

3. If one grows obsessed with the question of how to mend a relationship or a situation – “what can I do, how can I change myself, to get this person to stop being so destructive” – it is a sure sign the relationship or the situation is abusive.

4. I discuss abuse a great deal on this blog but I have not emphasized much how embarrassing it is. I write on this blog but on bad days I do not wish to be seen. The way it pushes its victims into the shadows is a very important aspect of abuse.

5. While I always had some kind of abusive relationship at the fringes of my life – which is what I went to Reeducation to deal with – what Reeducation wanted me to do was to let abusive people further in, put them in the center of things.


I think about all of these things obsessively in Louisiana to keep myself from getting engulfed by the atmosphere but in the West it seems unnecessary. Psychically I have already moved west.



Filed under Banes, Resources, Theories

Refuting Myths

The number of myths now masquerading as fact are very tiring to refute, so I am glad when other people help to do it. Right now I am glad the NYT has refuted a few myths about religion, the Founders, and the Framers. The article refers to Mitt Romney’s speech on the matter earlier this month. Now I quote and excerpt:

1. Mr. Romney filled his speech with the first myth — that the nation’s founders, rather than seeking to protect all faiths, sought to imbue the United States with Christian orthodoxy. He cited the Declaration of Independence’s reference to “the creator” endowing all men with unalienable rights and the founders’ proclaiming not just their belief in God, but their belief that God’s hand guided the American revolutionaries.

Mr. Romney dragged out the old chestnuts about “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency, and the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — conveniently omitting that those weren’t the founders’ handiwork, but were adopted in the 1950s at the height of McCarthyism. He managed to find a few quotes from John Adams to support his argument about America’s Christian foundation, but overlooked George Washington’s letter of reassurance to the Jews in Newport, R.I., that they would be full members of the new nation.

2. The other myth permeating the debate over religion is that it is a dispute between those who believe religion has a place in public life and those who advocate, as Mr. Romney put it, “the elimination of religion from the public square.” That same nonsense is trotted out every time a court rules that the Ten Commandments may not be displayed in a government building.

We believe democracy cannot exist without separation of church and state, not that public displays of faith are anathema. We believe, as did the founding fathers, that no specific religion should be elevated above all others by the government.

The authors of the Constitution knew that requiring specific declarations of religious belief (like Mr. Romney saying he believes Jesus was the son of God) is a step toward imposing that belief on all Americans. That is why they wrote in Article VI that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

I am posting this not because it is new news but to help people think on their feet in case members of the Christian Right try to say that it is their First Amendment right to require a religious test of candidates for office. Via Perverse Egalitarianism.


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Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Movement, News, What Is A Scholar?

David C. Korten

For your consideration:

Adam Smith was as acutely aware of issues of power and class as he was of the dynamics of competitive markets. However, the neoclassical economists and the neo-Marxist economists bifurcated his holistic perspective on the political economy, one taking those portions of the analysis that favored the owners of property, and the other taking those that favored the sellers of labor. Thus, the neoclassical economists left out Smith’s considerations of the destructive role of power and class, and the neo-Marxists left out the beneficial functions of the market. Both advanced extremist social experiments on a massive scale that embodied a partial vision of society, with disastrous consequences.

Keep on reading. This is from a book called When Corporations Rule the World, which explains how deeply Smith’s putative followers misunderstand him.



Filed under Bibliography

Is This Sexism?

Bad: “She gave up tenure to follow her husband, and she should be rewarded for this.” Better: “She gave up tenure to follow her husband, and it is our gain.”

Lagniappe: name that -ism, or that logical fallacy. “If this candidate is local, her supporters cannot be objective. The only possible basis for support any local candidate could have other than cronyism is fear of the unknown on the part of the hiring committee.”

Disclaimer: I am not at the MLA, I am hanging out with friends elsewhere. These are some of their stories.



Filed under Theories, What Is A Scholar?

Social Class Experiment

Now we can test our socioeconomic class by describing the things we had in high school and college (if in fact we attended these). You bold on this list the things you had, and you get a point for each bolded thing. I got 24 points out of a possible 37, almost two thirds of the way to the top. Via Bint Alshamsa, who provides more information on this test.

If your father went to college
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If you were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans
If you have no student loans

If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent owned their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in high school
If you had your own TV in your room in high school
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Cell phones and personal computers did not exist when I was in high school and college, but I think it does not matter – the equivalents were stereos and things like that.



Filed under Juegos


Holiday greetings to all! Enjoy the perfect description of this year at Unsane’s! 😀

Coming up from a southern beach as the sky turned rosy-dark I blinked and merged left beneath an arrow saying Golden Gate Bridge.

I moved with the automatic gestures of a commuter but then started and thought: “People wait their entire lives to do this.”


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Filed under Arts, News

Mary Austin

I have my grandmother’s copy of Land of Little Rain, but I see that it is now a Google Book, a Virginia e-text, a part of the Berkeley SunSITE, and a Gutenberg e-book.

This book describes things as they were in the nineteenth century when my various relatives arrived. At random:

I like that name the Indians give to the mountain of Lone Pine, and find it pertinent to my subject, — Oppapago, The Weeper. It sits eastward and solitary from the lordliest ranks of the Sierras, and above a range of little, old, blunt hills, and has a bowed, grave aspect as of some woman you might have known, looking out across the grassy barrows of her dead. From twin gray lakes under its noble brow stream down incessant white and tumbling waters. “Mahala all time cry,” said Winnenap’, drawing furrows in his rugged, wrinkled cheeks.

Weather does not happen. It is the visible manifestation of the Spirit moving itself in the void.

Oftenest the stream drops bodily from the bleak bowl of some alpine lake; sometimes breaks out of a hillside as a spring where the ear can trace it under the rubble of loose stones to the neighborhood of some blind pool.

Of the high Sierras choose the neighborhood of the splintered peaks about the Kern and King’s river divide for storm study, or the short, wide-mouthed canyons opening eastward on high valleys.

They speak a purer Castilian than obtains in like villages of Mexico, and the way they count relationship everybody is more or less kin.

The meal done without buys a candle for the neighbor’s dead child. You do foolishly to suppose that the candle does no good.

Come away, you who are obsessed with your own importance in the scheme of things, and have got nothing you did not sweat for, come away by the brown valleys and full-bosomed hills to the even-breathing days….



Filed under Bibliography, Poetry

Angel Island

From Kai Chang I had learned that there was Chinese writing on the walls on Angel Island but I have now discovered that this building is closed for renovation until at least 2009.

It is an excellent island, however, with unique and arguably the best views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate.

I rode to Angel Island by ferry and walked up to the top of Mt. Livermore, the summit, 788 feet above sea level. Far below you can see the immigration prison. I will have to try to see it again in 2009.

Here is an English translation of the fourth Angel Island poem:

Imprisoned in the wooden building day after day,
My freedom withheld; how can I bear to talk about it?
I look to see who is happy but they only sit quietly.
I am anxious and depressed and cannot fall asleep.
The days are long and bottle constantly empty; my sad mood, even so, is not dispelled.
Nights are long and the pillow cold; who can pity my loneliness?
After experiencing such loneliness and sorrow,
Why not just return home and learn to plow the fields?

We can see it written in the original characters, and listen to it in Mandarin or Cantonese.


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